If you, or someone you care for, have difficulty controlling their bladder or bowel, or reaching the toilet in time, incontinence products may be a good solution.
Many people experience incontinence, and it’s not something to be embarrassed about.
A person may be affected by urinary or bowel incontinence, or both. There are lots of ways to manage incontinence, to live comfortably and feel good, whether you have small leaks or complete incontinence. Incontinence products come in various forms and the main ones are:
Various incontinence products can be used together to achieve complete protection, hygiene and comfort. There are also lots of special washes and hygiene products for carers to use, to ensure cleanliness for themselves and the person they are caring for.
Most incontinence products are made of special absorbent and waterproof materials to keep you, your clothes and bedding feeling fresh and dry. Liners, pads and pants give you confidence throughout the day and peace of mind during the night. It’s important to choose the right level of protection. If you have occasional leaks, choose pads or pants that are suitable for a smaller volume of liquid. If you have partial or complete, uncontrollable bladder or bowel movements, then choose items which hold the appropriate amount of waste.
Bed and chair pads protect you and your furniture at home so you can relax or enjoy a good night’s sleep, without worrying about leaking and damaging bedding or chair upholstery. Bed and chair pads are available as disposable or washable options, so you can choose whichever is easiest and most affordable for you.
If you have incontinence, your skin can sometimes become sore, inflamed or damaged from wee or poo being on or close to the skin for even short periods of time. Many incontinence pads draw waste away from the body, but it is important to ensure areas of the body are kept clean and moisturised, with specially formulated continence skin care items.
There are also incontinence alarms available which can be linked to a nurse-call system to alert a carer that a person may need assistance.
Incontinence aids can help to:
Things to consider
Pads, pants and other continence care aids can be used as a way to manage incontinence issues. There are lots of reasons that incontinence may occur, and it’s important to broach the subject with a nurse, continence advisor, GP or occupational therapist, in order to discuss possible solutions that may help improve incontinence.
Sometimes, incontinence is a result of being unable to use the toilet effectively, for example, due to mobility problems. Toileting aids can help make using the loo easier, or provide an alternative to a plumbed-in toilet, such as a commode that can be kept in a more convenient area. There are also options such as a urinal that can be used if you are unable to get to the toilet when nature calls.
It can be physically demanding to help a person change their incontinence pants/pads or waterproof bedding, and this may require you to learn the correct techniques for manoeuvring the person safely, without risking injury to yourself. You could discuss this with your local authority, who may be able to arrange an assessment for you. You may need to use moving and handling aids to help a person with their toileting and incontinence. You should also consider hygiene and cleanliness procedures, and you may wish to use vinyl gloves, aprons and hand sanitising products.